[env-trinity] NOAA + USGS = Earth Systems Science Agency?
Guillen, George J.
Guillen at uhcl.edu
Mon Aug 4 12:46:05 PDT 2008
I second Bill's observation. The name of the proposed new agency says it
all ("Earth Systems") which to means geophysical. It's time to merge
the science and managemenet agencies so management has responsive
research support e.g. FWS + NOAA + USGS. or FWS + NMFS
George Guillen, Ph.D.
Executive Director - Environmental Institute of Houston
Associate Professor of Biology and Environmental Science
University of Houston Clear Lake
2700 Bay Area Blvd
Houston, Texas 77058
From: env-trinity-bounces at velocipede.dcn.davis.ca.us
[mailto:env-trinity-bounces at velocipede.dcn.davis.ca.us] On Behalf Of
Sent: Monday, August 04, 2008 2:37 PM
To: Sari Sommarstrom; env-trinity at velocipede.dcn.davis.ca.us
Subject: Re: [env-trinity] NOAA + USGS = Earth Systems Science Agency?
Sari and All
I don't know that the "important synergies" that Mr Baker attributes to
the creation of NOAA were conferred equally upon the fishing
communities, which were doing reasonably well under USFWS mgt, such as
it was in those days ...
But NOAA, like NASA, has been generous to the academic research
community, whence most of their leadership, like Baker, come -- and
return after their gov't service
My gut tells me that the fisheries, and their legitimate resource needs,
fiscal as well as physical, would slide even further off the political
radar with the fusion of NOAA and USGS
Unless of course there was in Congress a senior Member prepared to
champion fisheries mgt and rebuilding as an essential element of the
proposed upgrading of the government's interest in "earth systems
At 12:16 PM 8/4/2008, Sari Sommarstrom wrote:
Proposal To Merge NOAA And US Geological Survey To Form An Earth
Systems Science Agency
ScienceDaily (July 7, 2008) In an article published in the
journal Science, a group of former senior federal officials call for the
establishment of an independent Earth Systems Science Agency (ESSA) to
meet the unprecedented environmental and economic challenges facing the
nation. They propose forming the new agency by merging the National
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the U.S. Geological
Charles Kennel, former Associate Administrator of the National
Aeronautics and Space Administration and Director of Mission to Planet
Earth, says, "Earth system science focuses on understanding current
processes and predicting changes that will take place over the next
hundred years. It merges earth, atmospheric, and ocean science into a
panorama of the earth system as it is today and as it will be tomorrow.
We need it to predict climate change and its impacts, and to help us
mitigate and adapt to other changes that have the potential to affect
our quality of life and economic well-being."
The article points to the many scientific advantages of linking
the atmospheric and marine programs of NOAA with the terrestrial,
freshwater, and biological programs of USGS. Former NOAA administrator
D. James Baker and former USGS director Charles Groat, among the seven
coauthors of the paper, see important synergies in linking the two
According to Baker, "Population pressure, development impact,
and resource extraction affect land and sea alike. Just as the science
of the Earth is seamless, so should the government responsibility be
merged for these separate Earth agencies."
Groat points to the breadth of capabilities the agency would
possess. "The USGS, in bringing not only its geologic, biologic,
hydrologic and geospatial expertise to the understanding of natural
systems, but also its research capabilities in energy, mineral, water,
and biologic resources, gives the new organization a comprehensive
perspective on both environmental and resource systems. If we
effectively link these capabilities with those of NOAA, we will have a
powerful research institution," he says.
The authors express concern that federal environmental research,
development, and monitoring programs are not presently structured to
address such major environmental problems as global climate change,
declines in freshwater availability and quality, and loss of
According to Donald Kennedy, former commissioner of the Food and
Drug Administration and past president of Stanford University, "It isn't
often that we are offered a real opportunity to make government work
better. But the modest, sensible reorganization proposed here brings a
new science-rich focus on some of our biggest contemporary challenges."
Kennedy also stresses the importance of linking ESSA's
activities with the tremendous talent in the nation's universities.
The authors recommend that no less than 25 percent of the new
agency's budget be devoted to grants, contracts, and cooperative
agreements with academic and nonprofit institutions.
ESSA's success will also hinge on the collaborative arrangements
the agency makes with other federal departments and agencies. According
to former presidential science adviser John H. Gibbons, "ESSA's
effectiveness will depend upon the bridges it builds to other federal
agencies, from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and
National Science Foundation, to the Department of Energy and U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency."
David Rejeski, who worked in both the White House Office of
Science and Technology Policy and the Council on Environmental Quality,
emphasizes the importance of setting aside some of ESSA's budget to fund
research and development with breakthrough potential. "The Defense
Advanced Research Projects Agency has demonstrated the value of funding
high-risk, high-reward research and development. ESSA should foster
similar ventures in the environmental arena," Rejeski says.
The paper points to the direct link between research and
development and economic growth. The work of NOAA and USGS already fuels
a large, multi-billion dollar private sector enterprise.
Mark Schaefer, a former official at the Department of the
Interior and the White House science office, adds that "the quality of
life of future generations will be defined by the quality of the
environment we hand down to them. Our nation's research and development
enterprise must be better structured and directed if we are to have any
chance of solving the tremendous environmental challenges of our time."
1. . An Earth Systems Science Agency. Science, July 4, 2008
Adapted from materials provided by Project on Emerging
Nanotechnologies <http://www.nanotechproject.org> , via EurekAlert!
<http://www.eurekalert.org> , a service of AAAS.
Need to cite this story in your essay, paper, or report? Use one
of the following formats:
Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies (2008, July 7). Proposal To
Merge NOAA And US Geological Survey To Form An Earth Systems Science
Agency. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 4, 2008, from
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